The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Come Cover Me: Lyriel's "The Star of the County Down"

Last week German folk metal band, a band I have long been a big fan of, released their fourth album.  I've had a listen and I think it's excellent and shows a really different side of the band and of Jessica's voice.  One of the bonus tracks is a cover of the Irish folk song "Star of the County Down."  I love that song!

My favourite version has been done my my favouritest musician ever, Loreena McKennitt, and it appears on her The Wind That Shakes the Barley CD.  Here it is:

Loreena can do no wrong in my world!

And here is Lyriel's metal version.  It's fantastic.  Take a listen:

I love how fast it is, I love how edgy is is, I love how you can headbang to it.  Great job, Lyriel!

Borrowed Melodies: Nightwish's "The Heart Asks Pleasure First"

Finally this is on the verge of official release!  Which means they actually got permission to use the song from originator Michael Nyman.  If you recall, there was some controversy after NW used this song as their outro for their final concert of the DPP tour - but as the saying goes, any press is good press, even bad press.  The iffy debut of "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" only created an intense longing for NW fans to have the song released.  And on March 2 it will be, as a B-side to the single release of "The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove", the second single from Imaginaerum.

But of course there's been an - ahem - early unofficial release, and here it is:

I absolutely love it.  I love how it builds and builds on itself, I love the lyrics, I love the power and emotion. There are no weaknesses in this song at all.  It was worth the wait.

And I am a big fan of the film The Piano and it's soundtrack. Here is the original version:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Who's Going to Paganfest 2012?

I am!  I just bought my ticket for the Seattle show and it was a very reasonable $20 plus $2.24 for fees.  The dollar is at par these days so it's an even better deal!  I have a friend in Seattle I can stay with, but she's not into metal (though she did accompany me to Sabaton/Evergrey in October) so I am going to the event alone.  But I'm cool with that!

The bill includes, as you can see from the poster, Turisas, Alestrom, Ex Deo (I have no idea who they are), Arkona, and Huntress.  I have seen Arkona live before, in December in Vancouver, when they opened for Korpiklaani. They were great live and I'm stoked that I'm going to get another opportunity to see them live so soon!

The Seattle show is April 15.  Can't wait!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Farewell Elis

Yesterday Lichtenstein's Gothic metal band, Elis, announced that they were calling it quits, just a few days after their new singer Simone Christinat announced to the band she was leaving Elis due to too much stress.  Simone also sings for Legenda Aurea, and she replaces Elis's second vocalist, Sandra Schleret, who herself replaced original vocalists Sabine Dunser, who died of a brain hemorrhage in 2006.

The statement from the band reads:

We have to inform you that ELIS has passed into history.  Simone told us a couple of days ago, that she will leave ELIS immediately due to too much stress. 
We have decided now to quit the band. Too much things happened during all these years to continue once again. 
But on the other side, there were a lot of good and lucky moments in this almost ten years of ELIS. Therefore we want to say thank you for your support, your dedication and your friendship through all these years!

But this will not be the end of our musical careers, some projects are already in the pipeline. 
You will find more information about these things very soon on this location.

Cheers and take care!
Max, Tom, Pete, Chris

It seems like Elis has had really bad luck with their vocalists.  Simone had only been with the band 8 or 9 months before deciding to depart.  I'm not sure why Sandra left, but the band only recorded one CD with her, the rather excellent Catharsis.

I really liked Elis so I am sad to hear this!  I loved Sabine, but I also really enjoyed Sandra's voice when she sang with them.  I was looking forward to hearing how they sounded with Simone. They had strong, evocative music I enjoyed very much.  They will be missed!  Best wishes to them all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Reviews

Today Xandria's new album is released in Spain, Sweden, and Finland.  The rest of Europe follows tomorrow and North America gets it's hands on it March 6.  But, thanks to my review gig over at Black Wind Metal, I got a review copy!  And let me tell you, this is one awesome fucking album.  I was so impressed, and I think fans of the symphonic power metal genre are really going to be impressed, too.  My review for Neverworld's End can be read here.

Also for Black Wind Metal, I reviewed the new Diabulus in Musica album, The Wanderer.  I was only so-so on that.  That review is here.

Finally for BWM, I reviewed Meden Agan, who hail from Greece.  This is a band I encourage you all to pay some attention to, because they are absolutely brilliant.  Their newest album, Erevos Aenaon, is so impressive, and I think Iliana, their operatic vocalist, is going to become a powerhouse on the scene.  That review is here.

More reviews coming up!

Some Metal Humour

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was appropriate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Label Douchebaggery

For those of you who are fans of Delain, as I am, you might be interested in this interview my Sonic Cathedral colleague, Robin Stryker, did with mainman Martijn Westerholt and lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels.  In it, we learn why there has been such a long delay in the releasing of the band's third album, entitled We Are the Others.

Apparently, Roadrunner Records went through a major re-organization and is now being run by Warner Music Group, AKA WMG.  Says Martijn in the interview:

A lot of people left the company, were fired or restructured, etc., which meant for us that the guy who signed us and assisted us with our album process from the record company side was fired. They needed a new A&R manager for us. There was none in Holland, so it was quite a search to get the new structure working.  In the end, we had a new management, which also is the A&R and artist relations with Roadrunner. That took a lot of time, which meant that the whole album process was on hold as well.

The album was supposed to be released around a year ago, but to this day still has no release date, though late March was rumoured. The album is done and ready to go, and Delain is embarking on a headlining tour around Europe this spring.  The buzz around this album and the potential promotional opportunities such a tour would bring are huge.  Yet the label isn't onside with the record.

Martijn continues,

We heard that Warner Music didn’t want to release us because they just don’t get metal. They just don’t get it. They bought Roadrunner to get this metal DNA into their body, I would say. I have the feeling … I don’t know because I’m not in the organization itself … but I have the feeling that they are still searching for the right working method.  The Roadrunner company wants to release us, and there are several people within Roadrunner who are working to release us nonetheless. So actually, for us it’s a nightmare.

No kidding it's a nightmare!  I have no idea what WMG is thinking in doing this but it's ridiculous.  The album is mastered and ready to go, complete with artwork and the whole fucking shabang.  "Not getting metal" is a poor excuse - you're Warner fucking Music for crying out loud!  Incidentally, I have not failed to notice that WMG is one of the worst labels for yanking YouTube videos off YT for "proprietary reasons", causing them to miss out on numerous marketing and promotional opportunities.  I don't know the specific legal ins and outs of Delain's contract or what the label obligations towards the band are now that WMG has taken over, but it seems like utter douchebaggery to not release the CD because they "don't get it."  I don't get half the pop shit they release!

Anyway, I urge fellow Delain fans to join the "Petition for Warner Music to Release Delain - We Are the Others" page on Facebook to show their support for the band.  And let's hope WMG comes to its senses - quickly.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sonata Arctica to release new album soon!

Looks like the Finnish metal giant Sonata Arctica is set to release their newest album entitled Stones Grow Her Name. It is set to be released on May 18th of this year. I don't know what to expect from this album. The last two Sonata albums have not been as good as their earlier material. Though good and very well thought out, it didn't strike me as much.

Also, "Shitload of Money" and "Don't Be Mean" are not good song titles. Sorry Tony.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Xandria's "Valentine" free download

Today Xandria released new song "Valentine" which you can download for free here. But sadly, you have to  be Facebook user to do so.

The new album  "Neverworld's End" will be released on the following dates:
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Italy: February 24
Spain, Finland, Sweden: February 22
Rest of Europe: February 27
USA, Canada: March 6